“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline...”
— Colossians 3:12-14 (The Message)
Eugene Peterson continues that this new life of love compels us to be even tempered; content with second place; quick to forgive an offense; attempting to forgive is quick as the Saviour forgave us.
Love, he says, is the all-purpose garment for life that we ought never to be without.
Life or death, from the spiritual perspective, is what ‘life’ is all about. We make choices all the time about whether we venture toward the one or the other.
Love is central; love the modus operandi.
When love is chosen—and we all choose, whether we accept or deny it—we choose life. Love is the art of coming last in a two-horse race. It’s the astounding paradox of all time where victory is achieved from defeat. It’s an irony that works when all doesn’t work out. Love is an enigma that never has to compete; it wins from going against competition as it sees an agenda higher than others see.
Love is embodied by wisdom as wisdom is embodied by love. And love is depicted as a wardrobe of virtue, with garments and accessories perfectly designed by God to be worn in bringing heavenly realities to earth—“on earth as in heaven...”
Let’s consider this wardrobe for life. Let’s try the clothes on for fun. Then, let’s keep in the practice of wearing them.
Clothed for Life
We need underwear, our day clothes and suitable footwear as bare minimums for life.
The underwear for life is the humility and quiet strength outbound from the nexus of God working in us and through us constantly by the Holy Spirit. What we feel and think within is going to expand outward into daily life. We nurture a character of gentle solemnity. We govern ourselves and we allow God to speak to us, ever listening and discerning.
The day clothes for life are what people see—our kindness and compassion. These both are informed by humility and quiet strength. Kindness and compassion are how we love. There’s no other lesson needed other than to study these great gifts to others and apply them without hesitation.
The footwear for life is discipline. It’s the only way the rest of our wardrobe will stay robust for their roles. We cannot rove, move or be mobile for life without discipline, which is self-motivation from a purpose deeper than ourselves. Our purpose is love. Our agenda is God.
The underwear for life is the humility and quiet strength. The day clothes for life are what people see—our kindness and compassion. The footwear for life is discipline. Wearing the complete wardrobe avails us to love. Then we will be even tempered, quick to forgive, and happy with second place. Then we will have life. We have life when others have life.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.